Dimmitt's Goliad Flag
Dimmitt's Goliad Flag
Designed by Phillip Dimmitt the "bloody severed arm" in support of the Goliad Declaration of Independence which preceded the Texas Declaration of Independence in the Mexican Texas War.
In early December, Dimmitt and a few of his men joined Austin's army at Bexar, where they participated in the final fighting at the siege of Bexar. They returned to Goliad about December 14. On his return, Dimmitt designed a new flag. This flag had a white background and featured a severed, bloody arm holding a sword. It is thought to be the first flag advocating Texas's full independence from Mexico. The flag was raised over Presidio La Bahia after the garrison approved and signed the Goliad Declaration of Independence.
This militant and defiant banner, designed by Goliad garrison commander, Captain Phillip Dimmitt, dramatically reflected the political shift of Texians and Captain Dimmitt away from support of the independent statehood of Texas in the Mexican Federalist Republic and return to the Constitution of 1824 to support of complete separation from Mexico as an independent Republic. Before he returned from the Siege and Battle of Bexar to Goliad in the middle of Dec 1835, Captain Dimmitt was an avid Mexican Federalist and opposed to separation which was symbolized in the 1824 Mexican tri-color which is also thought to be of his own design. Dimmitt's bloody arm flag was said to have been raised ceremonially on Dec 20 upon the signing of the Goliad Declaration of Independence as the official flag of the occasion although the banners of companies of Captain William S. Brown and Captain William Scott were also present at Goliad at the time.
Which banner was actually flown over the Goliad garrison is the subject of controversy and comment by historians. Mary Agnes Mitchell in First Flag of Texas Independence cites memoirs of participants John James and Nicholas Fagan:
"The Goliad flag was made personally by Captain Dimmitt himself....It was of white domestic, two yards in length and one in width, and in the center was a sinewy arm and hand, painted red, grasping a drawn sword of crimson.....The flagpole was made from a tall sycamore which was procured from the woods along the banks of the San Antonio River.....The flagstaff was in the yard of the quadrangle opposite the entrance to the officers' quarters."
Dimmitt's flag flew over the ramparts of Goliad through 10 Jan 1836 when Dr. James Grant and the Federalist Volunteers of Texas forced its removal with threat of violence and which caused the subsequent exit of Col. Dimmitt and those loyal to him from the garrison. The banner is thought to have exited with them. The motivation behind Dimmitt's use of the bloody arm symbol is unclear as was whether he acquired it independently or simply under influence of the Brown flag,